My time in Israel flew by so quickly, but I did so many things in such a short amount of time that I’m still processing my travels, weeks later. It’s not so much that we did so many things that I can’t remember all of them, it’s that every thing we did sparked something in me. It inspired me, comforted me, charged me, it made me crave more, it made me more curious, it motivated me – and how do you put an experience like that into words?
I was invited to travel to Israel by a non-profit called Vibe Israel, along with other mom bloggers from different parts of the world – Blunt Moms, Be a Fun Mum, Mom Spark, and Cherish365 – be sure to visit their blogs to see their perspective on our amazing experiences!
Ever since I came home, I’ve been talking about my trip to Israel, cooking Israeli food, sharing my pictures with friends, and telling stories to anyone who will listen! I decided to share with you a photo journal of my time in Israel, showcasing my 10 favourite experiences! Enjoy! Yalla!
1. Stayed at a trendy boutique hotel in Tel Aviv
We stayed at the gorgeous Port & Blue, which is located in the trendy Tel Aviv Port area, a block away from the Mediterranean Sea and surrounded by shops, interior design boutiques, restaurants and nightlife. The trendy boutique hotel was the perfect spot to unwind, the rooms were large with super comfy beds, and the location can’t be beat. I could see the sea from my hotel room window, and it was at the bottom of one of the trendiest streets in Tel Aviv, Dizengoff – think shopping, restaurants, and bars open until 3 am most nights of the week!
2. Explored the Old City of Jerusalem
Walking through the uneven streets of Jerusalem, I observed different cultures and people of different faiths all living together, closely. The winding streets almost felt like tunnels sometimes, the markets were lively and full of delightful scents and sounds, and our tour guide showed us the different sides of the city – from touristy to real, everyday life.
I’m conflicted about how I truly feel about Jerusalem, because it is a very complex place. But pushing aside my own personal views, I embraced the city for what it was – a diverse and complicated place, full of tradition and cultures that imperfectly fit together with a resounding feeling of hope.
3. Created art with Tal Czaczkes
When we first met Tal Czaczkes, I quickly became enamoured with her free spirit, which flowed through her words and her caring eyes. Her studio was the definition of organized chaos, with art and toys filling up the walls, overflowing in boxes, and covering the shelves. We made an even bigger balagan in her space by dumping boxes and boxes of toys, toy parts, and discarded plastic pieces all over the floors, digging through them to create our own art pieces. Creating art with Tal was one of the most memorable parts of my trip to Israel, and I’ll definitely be sharing more about it!
4. Met Amazing & Outstanding Israeli Women
The women we met in Israel astounded me, there’s no better word for it. Israeli women of all ages and backgrounds, mothers, wives, young, old – impressed me so much that I still think about it to this day, and will for a very long time. They are strong and smart, full of gumption and are all so motivated! They strive for their own personal best – and they strive to help those around them in some way, shape, or form. Whether it’s raising their family or helping neighbours, the women push themselves forward while pushing others up, as well.
The Israeli women I met may have led different lives, but there was an underlying unity among them, an empowerment and a strength that collectively brought them together. It has changed my own personal outlook and way of life, in motivating me to get the most of my own life while continuing to be a role model for my own daughter. Honestly, I wish I could do a reunion from our trip with all the women we met, because they were so amazing!
5. Played at the Museum of Jewish People
Have you been to a children’s museum before? Of course you have – but the Children’s Exhibition called Heroes at The Museum of Jewish People is the COOLEST that I’ve ever seen. The impeccably-designed interactive space allows kids of ALL ages to play historical video games, pose as a reporter on the front lines, learn about fashion, the culture and history of Israel, and have a ton of fun while doing it!
6. Spent a Night at Dor Holiday Village
Our group spent a night at the beautiful beach resort in Dor. I soaked in the glorious sunshine, walked along the white sand beach, dipping my toes in the warm Mediterranean Sea and jumping over jellyfish that washed up on the shore. We stayed in our own little white igloos, that were so adorable and cute! I could definitely see how much fun it would be with the whole family!
7. Experienced a Traditional Shabbat Dinner
On Friday evening, we ventured into a lovely kibbutz to experience a traditional Shabbat dinner with the wonderful Hermoni family. They invited us into their home, which was warm, cozy, and full of love. The Hermoni’s are a family with three daughters, who are absolutely incredible and I learnt a lot about kids in Israel (they have cell phones in the fifth grade, too!).
Being at the Hermoni’s made me SO homesick. Before eating the delicious food, we listened to the family sing, drank the blessed wine, and ate challah bread – which was homemade… then we all ATE so much food. And all of it was vegetarian, which blew my mind because I was SO full after! The food was amazing, and the idea that the family took part in this tradition every week was incredible. Listening to the kids joking around and bantering, the parents having fun, it made me so homesick for my own kids and my hubby – but it was the most lovely experience and I truly felt blessed for being included in their meal.
8. Hung out with the Druze women
The Druze are a religious group that I had known very little about, prior to this trip, and even after meeting them, they remain elusive to outsiders. They prefer keeping many of their traditions and religious ways a mystery, however what we did learn about them was pretty amazing. The Druze consider the women as being the leaders in their communities, empowering them to make important decisions in their families and in their settlements. And they’re also super talented as well.
My favourite tidbit? That if a Druze women is in a crumbling marriage and wants a divorce, it’s she that goes and gets the document signed, no approval from the man is needed. And then the man must move out, no questions asked. How’s that for woman power?
9. Explored Tel Aviv
If there was ever a place that my preconceptions were so utterly wrong about, it had to be Tel Aviv. You see, I did very little research about Israel and Tel Aviv before I traveled, and I did that on purpose. I wanted my experience to be fully my own, and not skewed by someone else’s opinion or perception that I had read beforehand. But I honestly did not realize how cool Tel Aviv really was until I got there.
I compare it to a European-style city, with mixed cultures, tons of restaurants and bars, amazing fashion, and the best interior design and furniture stores! It’s a modern city, with main streets were open almost each night until 3 am, the neighbourhoods were diverse, the markets were unique, busy and full of life, and the beach was jaw-dropping. Miles of white sand, clear water, and beautiful, glorious sunshine. I rented a bike and rode it around the city, found a local designer’s boutique and spent a bit too much(!), and just enjoyed the sights and sound of Tel Aviv! It’s a beautiful city that needs to be on your travel bucket list!
10. Ate ALL the food
I think I saved the very best one until last – the FOOD was glorious. Absolutely glorious. Every meal we had was delicious. We ate so much food that we were STUFFED – we never went hungry! We had traditional Israeli food, home cooked meals, ate at modern bistros – it was all super amazing. Here’s a list of some of the amazing places we ate:
- Kitchen Market in Tel Aviv
- Azura in Jerusalem
- Turkiz in Tel Aviv
- Nurah’s Kitchen in Daliyat El Carmel
- Claro in Tel Aviv
- Racha in Tel Aviv
- Puaa in Old Jaffa, Tel Aviv
- Moses in Tel Aviv
I tried EVERYTHING and I loved it all. I was surprised by how much food I recognized or have had a version of before – but it makes sense with my Polish heritage to see familiar food in Israel!
Thank you so much to Vibe Israel for this amazing experience and giving me the chance to soak up as much of Israel as I could in a week. Thank you to the warm, kind-hearted people we met, the inspiring chats we had, and thank you for the knowledge I gained. And the food. Thank you so much for the food!
Have you ever been to Israel?